How to leave your job like a grown-up

Throwing up deuces as you walk out the front door with no notice is just one of the tantalizing ways one can exit a job like you’ve just won the lottery.

But there is really only one way to quit like an adult. And there are certainly a lot of ways to quit with the tenacity of a toddler — or a big lottery winner.

Before getting into the proper way to resign, let’s explore a few immature exits which are best avoided.

 

The ghost

It is tempting to just disappear when you are done with a job. Dumping anyone is awkward. These are the sorts of conversations we would rather avoid. Sometimes it just seems easier to stop going to work and hope they get the hint.

Resignations are uncomfortable, but they are required.

Of course, sometimes physical or mental health issues are a factor in a professional disappearing act.

Whenever possible, it is best practice to communicate with your workplace about what is going on. If you are unable to return to work, phone or email your manager about your situation.

By being open and honest, you maintain the possibility of an ongoing professional relationship.

 

The dramatic exit

Every worker has probably fantasized about quitting their job in a gigantic spectacle. You hire a marching band to escort you out. A barbershop quartet serenades your co-workers about their idiocy. A gaggle of cheerleaders chants your exit speech for the entire office.

It’s dramatic. It’s a little mean. And it’s oh so satisfying.

It’s also dumb. Don’t do it.

You may become a legend, but that usually is not the best way to move forward in your career.

 

The rage quit

It has been a bad day. So, you just leave. Right in the middle of your work day.

Perhaps you tell your manager exactly what you think of the organization in a hatred-fueled, expletive-laden stream of truth you have been holding in for way too long.

Or maybe you burst into tears, mumble your quitting words and run out in a panic.

Either way, you have caused a bit of a scene and let down your colleagues by bouncing when there is likely no one else to cover for you.

 

Consequences of an unprofessional exit

A dignified, well-timed resignation is the key to maintaining a professional relationship with your former colleagues.

Any potential future employer is going to expect references from your previous supervisors. If you leave on bad terms, you lose your reference.

Even if you have other people for your reference list, if you include a job you quit unprofessionally on your resumé, a hiring manager might ask you to provide a reference for it.

While you may feel comfortable simply deleting this terrible job from your resumé to avoid awkward questions, the world is smaller than you think. Future opportunities can be thwarted if a connection tips off the hiring manager of your bad behaviour.

 

How to quit without burning bridges

Do the adult thing and give appropriate notice when leaving a job. It is hard, it is awkward and it is a lot less fun than the alternatives. But you will preserve your career in the process.

Giving two weeks’ notice in writing is the typical professional courtesy when leaving a position. Manitoba labour law states that one week’s notice suffices for employees who have worked in a position for 30 days to one year, while two weeks’ notice is expected for employees resigning from a position they have held for over a year.

A resignation letter should be in a standard business letter format. Keep it brief and factual. Explain you are providing two weeks’ notice of your resignation.

Thanking the organization for the opportunity is a nice touch, but not required. It is also considerate but not compulsory to offer to train your successor or remain available by phone for any questions that come up in the transition.

Depending on your relationship with your supervisor, it might be appropriate to request a meeting in person to share your decision and deliver your letter. This is especially important if you are leaving a position you value.

Dumping someone in person is just so much more respectful than doing it by email. But if your workplace makes this courtesy impossible, an email will do the trick.

Save the dramatic resignations for your daydreams.

Quit correctly and your career will thank you.